SF Chronicle: Bechtel Leaving Iraq, After 52 Worker Deaths
The hellhole known as Iraq suffers another setback, a big one as a matter of fact, and the damn GOP wants voters to worry over a mangled joke by John Kerry. Will the last Bechtel contractor or worker to leave Iraq please turn out the light? Oh, wait a minute. I forgot the lights are not working in Baghdad.
From the SF Chronicle of November 1:
Bechtel Corp. went to Iraq three years ago to help rebuild a nation torn by war. Since then, 52 of its people have been killed and much of its work sabotaged as Iraq dissolved into insurgency and sectarian violence.
Now Bechtel is leaving. [...]
But Bechtel -- which charged into Iraq with American "can-do" fervor -- found it tough to keep its engineers and workers alive, much less make progress in piecing Iraq back together.
"Did Iraq come out the way you hoped it would?" asked Cliff Mumm, Bechtel's president for infrastructure work. "I would say, emphatically, no. And it's heartbreaking." [...]
At Baghdad's Kerkh sewage plant, Bechtel spent $5.7 million repairing equipment that hadn't worked in months, maybe years. But the plant's location, on the edge of the city, became increasingly dangerous -- turf for Saddam loyalists and criminal gangs. In November 2004, insurgents issued flyers telling the plant's Iraqi workers to stay home or die, according to Bechtel. Not long after, a power failure hit the plant, and the staff didn't turn on the backup generator. The plant stopped working.
"We'd get it completed, and then the Iraqis would all flee, and it'd get mortared," Mumm said. "It would operate for awhile, then the same thing would happen. ... As we sit here today, I don't know if Kerkh is running or not." [...]
Dear Mr. Mumm, please use all of your business and political influence to deliver your message to President George "Mission Accomplished" Bush and Vice President Dick "Last Throes" Cheney. They really need to hear from you and quickly too.